TIFF Next Wave ’21: Our Review of ‘Unapologetic’

TIFF Next Wave ’21: Our Review of ‘Unapologetic’

Being a Black person or an ally protesting with Black people has its share of triggers. Bella, who belongs to a new generation of Chicago-area Black abolitionist is protesting in front of a police district. And the documentary she’s in, Unapologetic, shows her and juxtaposes her image with the precinct itself. It’s an imposing building where white cops hide behind their offices. They wave at the camera and the protestors, as if uncaring about the deaths they’re causing.

Chicago is one of the cities that has a Black Youth Project 100 chapter. It’s the group that Bella and her fellow activist Janae are in. And the film shows the work that both women and their fellow activists do to spread awareness for their cause. Janae goes to meetings all over the city to discuss reasons for protest. Meanwhile, Bella practices the rhymes she recites the for those protests.

The film doesn’t just focus on BYP 100’s work on abolishing police. It also shows the group celebrate each other’s birthday parties. They use their office space to celebrate, dancing while Beyonce’s music blares through the speakers. Some viewers might find these scenes less interesting than the ones directly involving the group’s work. It also feels like they exist within the film to counterbalance the triggering moments. Although Black joy is always nice to watch.

The film depicts the group pushing for the city to investigate Dante Servin, the off-duty cop who murdered Rekia Boyd. The time between Boyd’s death and Servin’s cowardly ‘resignation’ took four years. Boyd isn’t the only person in Chicago to die under police fire. BYP 100 Chicago’s offices showing the facts of both Boyd’s case and Laquan McDonald’s. The images here show that BYP 100 has much work to do to bring equity in America.

Find out how to watch Unapologetic through https://tiff.net/events/unapologetic.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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